One of Annapolis’ most important landmarks, the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial commemorates where Alex Haley’s ancestor and the main character of his novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, arrived on America’s shores after a harrowing journey across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa.
Kunta Kinte was brought to Annapolis aboard the ship Lord Ligonier with 97 other slaves in 1767. Even after suffering years of bondage and mistreatment, Kinte proudly retained his African roots.
For the 31st year, the Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021 in Annapolis to celebrate his life and African American heritage.
African Americans have featured prominently in Annapolis’ rich history since colonial times. According to records from the 19th Century, “they comprised one-third of the population in Annapolis. Prior to the Civil War, Maryland had more free African-American citizens than any other state…In Annapolis, about 400 of the city’s 4000 inhabitants were free blacks and, of those, forty owned real property.”
Important African American figures from the history of Maryland include Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Benjamin Banneker, Matthew Henson, and Thurgood Marshall.
First known as the Kunta Kinte Celebration when it was founded in September 1987, the event eventually became the Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival. It is a celebration of how Americans of African descent persevered, prospered through education, and kept their cultural heritage.
Entertainment in the past was provided by the Annapolis Drum & Bugle Corps, Kwame Ansah-Brew, First Christian Community Church Dancers, Pauline Louis Wells Legacy Mass Choir, Keur Khaleyi African Dance Company, Clones of Funk, and many others.
Date: Saturday, September 25, 2021
Time: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Susan Campbell Park / Annapolis City Dock, 1 Dock Street, Annapolis
Suggested Donation: $5
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